Spoken Pali?

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Spoken Pali?

Postby Inoshi » Mon Mar 04, 2013 3:56 pm

Two stories, one that Pali is an archaic language that is no longer spoken, and another that it's still spoken in Sri Lanka?

What is your opinion?

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Re: Spoken Pali?

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Mar 04, 2013 6:42 pm

Pali is no longer a spoken language, although there are languages that have been heavily influenced by it and related/descendent languages.
Sri Lankan language is sinhalese, and is influenced by Pali, as is Thai & Burmese but they are not pali even though they have adopted some words, at times the meaning has changed slightly.

Modern Magadhi could be claimed to be a derivative as the ancient form, as it was said to be pali during the reign of Kink Akosa.

Nepali, and Hindhi are related and share various degrees of similar words with corresponding meaning but these stem from other regional dialects.

This is as I have been explained it by Sri Lankan Bhikkhus & some others.
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Re: Spoken Pali?

Postby rohana » Mon Mar 04, 2013 10:14 pm

Sinhalese has a ton of - not Pāli words, but Sanskrit words. For example, we say "Viṣuddhimārga" not "Viṣuddhimagga" and "nirvāna" not "nibbāna". But since Pāli and Sanskrit are very similar, it's pretty much like having Pāli words in the Sinhala language. (To my knowledge the way the words are pronounced are not very different from how an Indian Sanskrit speaker would pronounce them.)

In my un-scholarly opinion, North Indian languages seem to have deviated from Sanskrit roots with the influence of the Mughal Empire. If you listen to someone speaking Hindi, for example, you'll hear a lot of 'z' and 'f' sounds - sounds that don't exist in Pāli/Sanskrit. (These sounds used to be absent in Sinhalese, and were added very recently after European influences.) Don't know about Bengali and Nepali, though.

As for spoken Pāli, I do remember reading an interview with the late Ven. Balangoda Ānanda Maitreya, where he said when a Burmese Sayādāw came to Sri Lanka to propagate the Mahāsī method, they conversed in Pāli. :shock: So I guess we can't rule it out completely.

If there are any linguists around, I'd like to hear their opinion, I think it's a fascinating subject.
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Re: Spoken Pali?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Mar 05, 2013 12:29 am

Inoshi wrote:Two stories, one that Pali is an archaic language that is no longer spoken, and another that it's still spoken in Sri Lanka?

What is your opinion?

Inoshi
The abbot of Wat Bowan (in Bangkok), when I was there in the mid 70's would speak Pali in conversation with a couple of other very old monks, who were obviously very old friends of his. I suspect that that is not usual.
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Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Spoken Pali?

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Mar 05, 2013 12:47 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Inoshi wrote:Two stories, one that Pali is an archaic language that is no longer spoken, and another that it's still spoken in Sri Lanka?

What is your opinion?

Inoshi
The abbot of Wat Bowan (in Bagkok), when I was there in the mid 70's would speak Pali in conversation with a couple of other very old monks, who were obviously very old friends of his. I suspect that that is not usual.

I remember in a similar thread Ajahn Dhammanando noted that it is not usual but can hapen particularly when there is no common language between the monks.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Spoken Pali?

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Mar 05, 2013 1:28 am

Yes, I recall reading somewhere that it used to be common for Monks from different countries (Thailand, Burma, etc) to converse in Pali. Sayadaw Mahasi translated his "Progress of Insight" booklet http://www.aimwell.org/Books/Mahasi/Pro ... gress.html from Burmese to Pali to make it accessible to knowledgeable Theravada Buddhists. I guess for much the same reason that Newton's Principia was in Latin...

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Re: Spoken Pali?

Postby Sylvester » Tue Mar 05, 2013 4:35 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Inoshi wrote:Two stories, one that Pali is an archaic language that is no longer spoken, and another that it's still spoken in Sri Lanka?

What is your opinion?

Inoshi
The abbot of Wat Bowan (in Bangkok), when I was there in the mid 70's would speak Pali in conversation with a couple of other very old monks, who were obviously very old friends of his. I suspect that that is not usual.



As did the abbot of Wat Saket, thus I heard. Apparently, his conversational Pali was really good.
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Re: Spoken Pali?

Postby Inoshi » Tue Mar 05, 2013 8:41 pm

Well, I understand better the Sri Lankan story, and it appears we're discovering besides that living variation, there appears to be an extent to which Pali has continued to be spoken. Thanks all!

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